Last but certainly not least in the series '5 questions on marketing during a global crisis', is Rachel Skeoch, marketing and communications manager at Hyperdrive Innovation (pictured). Rachel shares how they have approached marketing over the past four months and what have proven to be the best forms of communication for their business.
Hyperdrive Innovation designs, develops and manufactures lithium ion battery systems. As a trusted electrification partner to original equipment manufacturers around the world, their battery technology is present in a diverse range of applications, providing customers with the right energy at the right time.
Focusing on their long-term growth plans, they have very much risen to the challenge of business continuity, ensuring minimum disruption for customers.
Do you feel marketing is more or less important as businesses adjust to Coronavirus challenges?
Marketing has so many dynamic features that I'd certainly say more important. It's not only about external efforts and maintaining strong relationships with partners, customers and our supply chain, but also maintaining a solid internal brand that employees, investors and shareholders have confidence in.
In such unprecedented times for everyone, marketing can be seen as a central pillar that branches across a full business.
Have any aspects of your marketing plan had to change dramatically as a result of Coronavirus, and how have you adjusted?
One area that has been affected is our calendar of events for both national and international shows and conferences. Many have been postponed to the Autumn or even cancelled entirely for 2020 which is a great shame. It's important not to stop but instead, look for alternatives.
We're in the process of establishing our own hosted virtual events with each one having a key market theme and guest industry speaker. This way, we can still reach our customers and tailor material to each segment in a concise and engaging fashion.
Is there anything you're doing now to stay in touch with customers that you weren't doing before the pandemic?
We work with a select number of customers at a given time, from large international brands to smaller niche manufacturers. So we're fortunate that our communication is fairly constant across each key department. Some customers have been impacted more than others, so it's about supporting them where we can and adjusting manufacturing schedules to do so.
Like everyone else, we're finding video conference tools invaluable for both internal communications and business development. We've also been working on two new customer initiatives throughout the pandemic, a customer feedback survey and a construction industry research report. We've actually found that it's been quite a good time to talk in-depth with customers, reflecting on achievements to date and what we might do differently going forward.
What kind of engagement are you seeing with the marketing/comms approach you're now taking and what methods are working well for you?
I find social media, especially LinkedIn, to be an effective marketing channel. It allows people to interact as individuals rather than companies, so engagement is always a lot higher. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was crucial to adjust our tone, reduce 'sell' posts and be sensitive to the ongoing situation.
It was such unchartered waters for both our customers and us, but we also wanted to maintain a light-hearted tone to our posts where appropriate. Not only that, but many people were also turning to social media for news updates. So it made sense to concentrate our efforts on boosting our presence where we could.
In a more general sense, what impact do you think the Coronavirus could have on the future of marketing and the way businesses communicate with customers?
With people continuing to work remotely until offices can safely cope with full capacity, I think it'll be a while before our old 'normal' ways of working return. Strategic, as well as day to day communication, will be more important than ever for both customers and employees alike. For marketers, a lot more emphasis may be placed on crisis communications, ensuring emergency contingency plans are in place.